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Brom left, brothers Ryan Moore, Logan Moore and Nicholas Moore participate in a watermelon seed spitting challenge at the the Rock Ledge Ranch during their 4th of July celebration. Two watermelon events — the inaugural Watermelon Festival in Monument and Watermelon Day in Rocky Ford — are coming up.

While COVID-19 hasn’t been kind to many annual Colorado festivals, one will mark its first year in August.

The inaugural Watermelon Festival will launch this weekend at Colorado Kids Ranch, the Monument facility that hosts a popular pumpkin patch each fall. The fest will happen over two weekends and will celebrate — you guessed it — watermelons.

Festivities include a watermelon- eating contest, arm painting, slip ‘n’ slides, a petting zoo and maze.

It will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday as well as next weekend, Aug. 7-9, at the ranch, 18065 Saddlewood Road, Monument. Tickets cost $12 per person. For more info, visit watermelonfestival.net.

The Watermelon Festival might get you warmed up for the long-standing Watermelon Day, which has been part of the Arkansas Valley Fair in Rocky Ford since 1878.

Most of the fair’s activities have been canceled this year, but a modified version of Watermelon Day will be held Aug. 22 to keep the Arkansas Valley Fair’s place as the oldest continuous fair in Colorado.

“If we canceled it all, we’d have to start over,” Sally Cope, the fair’s general manager, said. “We wouldn’t be the longest continuous fair.”

They plan on hosting a curbside-style Watermelon Day.

“We had to have that, because that’s what started it all,” Cope said.

She’s referring to the melons that event founder G. W. Swink gave away to people in his community in 1878.

“Every year since that time, they’ve continued to have Watermelon Day,” she said. “That’s what we’re known for.”

This year, that’s about the only activity on the fair’s calendar along with a 10k race, community breakfast and car show. Still, it will mark the fair’s 143rd year.

For more info, visit arkvalleyfair.com.

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